Silenus strap slide

Photo: Surrey County Council CC BY SA2.0
Object type: Mount
Period: Roman
Primary material: Copper alloy
Date found: 01/08/1985
Location: North Clifton, Nottinghamshire


A cast copper alloy Roman strap fitting dating to 2n Century AD whose fittings suggest a use as a strap slide. The object is a bust of a middle aged male, with a bald head and large beard comprised of four thick strands of ringlets descending to the chest. This is most likely a depiction of Silenus.


Silenus was a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus. He commonly figures in Roman bas-reliefs of the train of Dionysus, riding on an ass.

A notorious consumer of wine, he was usually drunk. When intoxicated, Silenus was said to possess special knowledge and the power of prophecy.

Silenus was depicted as a jovial man, hairy and balding, with a pot-belly, snub-nose, and the ears of an ass.